Early deficit proves too much for Sweet Water’s Bulldogs

SWEET WATER – A 62-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage set the tone for Sweet Water High School’s 35-13 season-opening loss to perennial 4A powerhouse Thomasville at Nolan Atkins Stadium Friday night.

“It is physically demanding to play (Thomasville), but it will make us better,” said Sweet Water head coach Stacy Luker. “We kept playing hard, even when we fell behind.”

Thomasville’s Zavier Mapp took the handoff on the first play from scrimmage and sprinted 62 yards around right end for the score, and Ty White’s PAT gave the visiting Tigers an immediate 7-0 lead.

The Mapp Show continued on Thomasville’s next possession. After a Sweet Water punt, Thomasville ran the same play and Mapp raced 31 yards to the Bulldog 6. On the next play, Mapp took it up the middle for the score, and White’s boot made the score 14-0.

After the kickoff, Sweet Water mounted a short drive but turned the ball over on downs at midfield. THS then moved the ball to the Dawg one-yard line, where Rasheed Jones punched it in for a late first-quarter score, and White added the point after.

Daniel Sewell  leaps in front of tiger WR Ian Rossby to intercept the ball and stop  Thomasville'e scoring drive.

Daniel Sewell
leaps in front of tiger WR Ian Rossby to intercept the ball and stop
Thomasville’e scoring drive.

Early in the second, after an exchange of possessions, Sweet Water again found itself with its back against the wall. From the SWHS 24, Thomasville went for the jugular on a fade route to the end zone, but Sweet Water’s Daniel Sewell made a leaping interception that seemed to spark the Bulldogs. From there, Sweet Water marched 80 yards for its first score.

Jakoby Aldridge put the Dawgs’ first points on the board with a 26-yard run with 1:54 remaining before half. A key play in the drive was a 26-yard pass completion from sophomore quarterback Branson Davis to Paul Weatherly.

The kick was wide right, leaving the score 21-6, and Thomasville added one more score before half on an eight-yard keeper by QB Wil Brasell, making the halftime score 28-6.

Each team added a third quarter touchdown the complete the night’s scoring. Thomasville hit paydirt with 6:14 remaining in the quarter on a two-yard Mapp run, while a 60-yard Aldridge run to the Tiger 23 set up his one-yard plunge moments later.

Aldridge finished with 136 yards on the night.

“We’ve just got to keep giving it to our horses and leaning on our offensive line,” said Luker. “Defensively, we’ll come along. We made some changes and saw some things we liked in the second half.”

Davis, in his first start at quarterback, completed 1-of-4 passes for 26 yards.

Sweet Water opens Class 2A region play next week at Leroy.